SUNDAY TIMES WEB DESK: Pakistan batting tumbled for just 105 runs in their first game of World Cup 2019 as West Indies reached the target in just 13.4 overs at an expense of just 3 wickets.
West Indies captain won the toss and elected to field first in overcast conditions of The Oval. Sarfraz Ahmed also wanted to bowl first due to the bowling friendly conditions.
Imam Ul Haq seemed to struggle at the crease since the first ball of the inning, he was unable to rotate the strike and was under pressure. On a delivery, which was pitched at leg stump and was there to be flicked from his hip, Imam gloved it to the keeper after scoring 2 (9). On the other hand, Fakhar Zaman was looking impressive, but a deadly bouncer from Andre Russell undone him, the ball struck his helmet grill and then on the stumps, he scored 22 (16).
Russell clearly had a plan against Pakistani batsmen of bowling short, he kept banging the ball halfway on the wicket, which eventually got the better of Haris Sohail after scoring 8 off 11 deliveries.
Babar Azam and Sarfraz Ahmed were looking sail the sinking ship of Pakistan batting, but after playing some glorious stroke, Azam fell prey to Oshane Thomas while trying to play a cut without moving his feet, he edged it to the keeper, who took a brilliant diving catch. He scored 22 off 33 balls.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali could not do much for their team and got out after scoring 8, 1, 0 and 1 run respectively. While the senior campaigner Mohammad Hafeez lost his way for 16 (24) on yet another short delivery.
Wahab Riaz gave the fans few smiles and moments to cherish with a couple of a sixes and a boundary before getting clean bowled by Thomas on 18 (11).
Oshane Thomas remained the pick of the bowler with four wickets, while Jason Holder took three wickets, whereas Andre Russell struck twice. Sheldon Cottrell also picked one wicket.
In reply, the Caribbean easily chased the target in the 14th over of the match as they were seemed dominant from the word go. The self proclaimed Universe Boss, Chris Gayle, looked in mood and went for big hits since the start of the inning. Mohammad Amir finally succeeded in the fifth over as he sent Shai Hope packing back to the dressing room. The left-arm pacer did not take long to strike again, when he managed to get an edge from Darren Bravo. West Indies were 46/2.
On the other hand, Gayle was in the mood against Pakistan. He took on Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz and raised his half-century in just 33 deliveries. He was suffering from a back pain and eventually fell to Amir.
Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer took their side home easily and remained not out on 34 and 7 runs respectively. Windies picked up a convincing win by 7 wickets and reached the target in just 13.4 overs.